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The thought of Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (Röcken, Germany 1844 – Weimar, Germany, 1900) can be interpreted as a romantic and enthusiastic faith in nature, accompanied by a critique that strives to be perceived radical as much as possible. A characteristic of romanticism was the idea that the infinite lies in the finite; Nietzsche does not believe that nature is inhabited by some God, but he has the certainty that it is able to lead beyond itself, to let it experience a continuous self-overcoming, without thereby needing to become something different; on the contrary, it is precisely because it is always the same, in its eternal return, that it succeeds in preserving and transmitting its unrestrained force, capable of making us experience life as the maximum liberation of instincts, joy, the pleasure of a continuous exceeding, of making us feel “over-men”. On the other hand, he turns his heaviest criticisms towards every element of the world that is rather in search of a measure, balance, moderation, prudence, traditional schemes within which to close itself.
One of these enemy components is God himself: according to Nietzsche we must become aware that God died because we killed him; the meaning of this statement is clear: our critical ability has now reached such a degree that it has become impossible for Christianity to still be able to fool us with the proposal to believe in a God; the time of religious fables is over; today it is no longer possible to believe in God: we have become of age. There may also be nostalgia for past innocence, but the fact remains that it is now impossible to return to the previous state. The over-man has understood that his desire for the infinite finds its maximum realization in the material, human, earthly world, in nature; the reference to God, to the existence of a supernatural world, despite appearances of openness to different perspectives, is instead a cage, which oppresses man’s ability to go beyond himself. Jesus Christ, however, receives appreciation from Nietzsche because he has taught us to throw ourselves with courage into death, which is part of nature. Pilate is to be appreciated as well, because he has hinted that the word “truth” indicates something that does not exist and never existed.
Disinterestedness, love of neighbor, compassion for the poor are nothing but a petty revenge that some men exercise, due to the fact that life denied them the chance to live unbridled and satiated joy, health, strength, sexual love, enjoyment, the highest culture, art, domination, the will to power. The morality of doing good and not doing evil is nothing but a mentality of slaves, of weak people who harbor resentment against life, because it has been lacking in joy with them; it is the attempt to do something that appears meaningful, valid, but it is only because they did not succeed in obtaining what is truly superior and infinite, that is full, natural, happy life; so, the best things in life are declared sinful, out of envy against those who enjoy them happily.
The philosophy of Nietzsche is nihilism, from the Latin word “nihil”, which means “nothing”. That is, there is no longer anything within which to continue to be caged, there are no principles, no values (they do not exist because actually they never existed, except as deceptions), methods and criteria of reasoning to which to remain bound; finally, people who accept Nietzsche’s philosophy have the possibility of living fully.
Luther, according to Nietzsche, called the papacy to flee from corruption, and instead just that dissolute and corrupt papacy testified to love for life, pleasures, enjoyment; Luther brought the church back just in a period when the pleasure of living and enjoying the earthly joys was finally establishing in its hierarchies.
A merit that we can recognize in Nietzsche is that of having indicated the path of the human as a direction in which to search for the most enriching aspects of existence, trying to avoid the recourse to phantom supernatural horizons, understood metaphysically, which actually are only impoverished visions of reality.